Television Tuesday :: 5 more things that most conventional adult television could learn from Sailor Moon

11 Aug

Sailor Moon day is coming up this week.  I’m getting prepared.

5. Unabashed enthusiasm is not a character flaw.
The other girls tease Ami for her need to study constantly, but not because she’s so “nerdy” and it’s not “cool,” just because she does it, well, constantly, in the middle of other activities that are fun.  The girls are all fairly “cool” in their ways but they are all fans of video games, hanging at the arcade, and anime and manga and other things considered “nerdy” in a lot of, y’know, Western television.  They all have their interests and sometimes they tease each other but it’s never truly mean-spirited.

4. Misogyny is a character flaw.
In season one, Jaedite disparages Sailors Moon, Mercury, and Mars for being “shallow, useless creatures” who need men to do things for them.  They don’t falter, they don’t doubt themselves, they just immediately chastise him for being discriminatory.  The only behavior like that is immediately pointed out as at least backward, if not flat-out wrong, and this is consistent throughout the show.

3. Female villains don’t have to be motivated by unequivocal girlhate.
Yes, the female villains express their hatred of the senshi, but not because they are girls.  There is no Strong Female Character girlhate going on, no hatred of fellow girls because they represent a “weak” femininity that should be avoided.  There is unashamed femininity amongst the antagonists just as among the protagonists and that’s kind of awesome.

2. Female villains don’t have to be motivated by a man having done them wrong.
Sure, some of the female villains on this show are being done wrong by a man, but that’s not the cause of their villainy.  In the back half of season 2 we have the Spectre Sisters, the majority of whom are casual misandrists, Koan who is hopeless for Rubeus despite his Christian Grey bullshit.  She’s not doing evil because he’s hurting her, though.  She’s doing evil because that’s just what her people do and she’s into impressing Rubeus, but once she realizes she is being done wrong by him, the senshi are able to use it to motivate her to become good.  Other female villains follow a less-drastic version of this pattern, too.

1. You can go entire episodes with just having women talk to each other or without having two men talk to each other.
Why is it that the most blatant Bechdel test smashes I see (not the ones where, like with Game of Thrones or something, I literally find myself counting to thirty before a man is brought up in the conversation) are in cartoons?  This is nonsense.  Sure, the senshi talk about boys.  But they talk about everything else, too.  Men, on the other hand?  The two most prominent male characters in this show are Artemis and Mamoru and I can’t off the top of my head recall them ever speaking.  Sometimes you have villains talking to each other (Saphir and Demande and Wiseman in season 2, Jaedite and Nephrite and Zoicite and Kunzite in season 1) but even then like half the time they’re talking about the senshi.  I guess Mamoru and Motoki talk to each other sometimes.  But the vast majority of this show is women talking to each other and that’s amazing.

–your fangirl heroine.

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